Marikana bloodshed foreseen: evidence

484411_516405105043726_2005640490_nPolice anticipated resistance and bloodshed as a result of their efforts to disperse protesting Marikana mineworkers last year, the Farlam Commission heard.

This emerged as evidence leader Mbuyiseli Madlanga was questioning North West deputy police commissioner William Mpembe on methods used to manage the wage-related unrest.

Madlanga asked: “General, you have been asked this question before. In your responses you referred to individuals and so on. I would like to get a response which is as brief as possible in that answer.

“Did you foresee that there might be bloodshed?”

Mpembe agreed.

“Correct. I have said there were plans to address that risk,” he said.

Madlanga said if this was the case, Mpembe’s earlier evidence at the commission was untrue.

“You have (previously) mentioned the possibility of bloodshed purely as a strategy. In the light of the last response you have just given now, surely that cannot be the truth,” said Madlanga.

“General, I suggest to you and we will argue that the truth is that you foresaw the possibility of bloodshed and it is a lie (to say) you did not have such foresight.”

Mpembe said he did not agree.

Earlier, lawyers representing the mineworkers wounded and arrested during the Marikana unrest last year provisionally pulled out of the Farlam Commission of Inquiry.

Lawyer Dali Mpofu announced the decision to withdraw, pending a High Court ruling in Pretoria on his application for the State to fund the legal team.

“Our instructions (from the mineworkers) are to await the judgment and at that point to receive further instructions. In the meantime, we will not be participating for the victims,” he said.

“If we are back later on in the week, we will have the extra burden of catching up with what would have happened 1/8at the commission 3/8. We have been consulting with a small delegation of the victims now. We are still going to consult with the larger groups.”

On June 21, Mpofu told the commission it could be his last day representing the miners. He then brought the urgent court application seeking funding for representing the mineworkers.

Mpofu wants President Jacob Zuma and Justice Minister Jeff Radebe to approve payment for the mineworkers’ legal team.

The commission is investigating the circumstances surrounding the deaths of 44 mineworkers in strike-related violence in Marikana, North West, in August.

On Monday, Mpofu promised the commission’s chairman, retired judge Ian Farlam, that he would update the commission about his team’s decision, based on the court outcome.

“Irrespective of the outcome, as professionals, we have a duty to come here and brief the commission. We are not going to just disappear,” he said.

Contrary to media reports, the high court ruling could be made “anytime from now”.

“In the media, it’s being said the judge will give his decision on Thursday. The judge did not say that. The judge simply said he would give his judgment this week.

“In reality, the judgment could be in the next two hours, tomorrow, or anytime this week,” he said.

As Mpofu and his team left the Tshwane council chambers, where the commission was holding its public hearings, Farlam inquired about Mpofu’s recovery from stab wounds he sustained a while ago.

“I will take further instructions from my clients,” said Mpofu jokingly.

The former SABC CEO was stabbed and robbed while walking on an East London beach in April. – Sapa

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